Grand Main Reading Room at Library of Congress opens to visitors

Starting this week, visitors to the Library of Congress in D.C. will get a rare opportunity to experience its grand Main Reading Room.

Previously, this area of the Library of Congress was reserved for researchers and was only open to visitors on holidays and special occasions.

The room, in the Thomas Jefferson Building, will be open to visitors Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and again from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Access will be limited to those who reserve free timed-entry passes.

Also, every Thursday evening the library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and its exhibitions will be open for extended hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. as part of the Live at the Library experience.

The library says it will also begin allowing non-flash photography, provided it does not distract researchers.

Research will continue in the Main Reading Room as visitors are looking around. The LOC says it expects visitors to “maintain the respectful atmosphere.”

The number of visitors inside at one time will be limited, so free timed passes to visit the LOC are required. The library says that, due to strong interest, access to the Main Reading Room may not be guaranteed to those visiting.

The new visiting times for the Main Reading Room are part of a pilot program that will continue through September.

Anne Kramer

Anne Kramer first joined WTOP as a freelance news anchor in 2022 before taking on the afternoon drive. Before coming to the Washington area, Anne spent 25 years working as a news anchor and reporter for WBAL Radio in Baltimore.

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